Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Spanish pizza curiosity

I just read the disappointing news that the NYC’s best pizzeria has once again been closed down due to negligible health/sanitary concerns. As I imagined a sizzling Sicilian DiFara pizza sitting on the table in front of me, my mouth watered and I truly desired pizza for the first time since being here (three week anniversary, btw). Culinary geniuses that they are, the Spanish just haven´t figured out pizza yet.

I´m not sure what the problem is, because, while it may be hard to make a fantastic pizza, it´s rather easy to make an adequate one. Yet it doesn´t seem to exist on an affordable level here: the Italian restaurants that serve up a nice pizza are relatively expensive (though Veronica is apparently worth it). Plus options at such places remain limited to the classic Italian thin-crust style, which is fine, but begs the question: ¿Dónde está el slice-o Americano, tio? Why do I have to go to some crappy chain like Pizza Hut, which takes the American style overboard and heads toward Sicilian, but is not nearly as good?

At first I thought this is connected to the Spanish disdain for eating on the run. I really haven’t seen many people eating while walking, which is of course an American pastime (especially in NYC). I love roaming around town clenching my bocadillo de tortilla española, and would be more than happy to double fist my way down las Ramblas with a slice in the other hand. Then when you get to where you´re going, you can concentrate on drinking.

You´d think that if any city on this peninsula is going to transcend the limited Spanish conception of pizza, it would have to be Barcelona, no? Progressive, cosmopolitan, experimental, blah blah—so what gives? When I lived in Madrid we must’ve tried every spot in town before giving up and making our own pizza at home. That’s fun and wholesome enough, but sometimes you just want a friggin slice for the road, you know? In a country dotted with Kebabs, bakery-type pizza/bruschetta thingies, and the infamous old-skool 'sandwiches' (bread with cheese; bread with ham; bread with tortilla), in addition to many bad pizzerias, perhaps the market is saturated? If Spain can have a famous pizza chef and consultant, where are his disciples?

I can´t figure it out, but I assure you I will not rest until I have an explanation. I can only hope that some young Spanish entrepreneur, perhaps with an MBA from the US, has the vision to follow the Italian example and develop the pizza market here. The Spanish are too good for this TelePizza crap. Man am I hungry.

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